Running a call center comes with its share of challenges, and one critical aspect is workforce management (WFM). From forecasting to scheduling, the WFM cycle relies heavily on the expertise of a few specialists. However, what happens when your star forecaster is suddenly unavailable? This vulnerability, commonly referred to as the “bus factor,” can disrupt your forecasting process and have severe consequences. At CCmath, we understand the importance of maintaining continuity in WFM, and we have innovative solutions to address this challenge. Join us as we explore these solutions and empower your call center to thrive, regardless of unforeseen circumstances.
The Peril of the “Bus Factor”: Imagine relying on a single forecaster to create weekly forecasts using handcrafted spreadsheets. It’s a common scenario in many call centers, where the departure or absence of this key person could leave you without essential inputs for scheduling, potentially causing operational chaos. This “bus factor” is a term coined by IT professionals, humorously alluding to the scenario where your forecaster is suddenly “hit by a bus,” leaving no one to carry on their crucial work. Unfortunately, WFM often exhibits a low bus factor due to the specialized tasks performed by a small team, with the forecaster being the linchpin of technical expertise.
Solutions That Go Beyond the Obvious: As experts in the call center industry, we recognize the need for comprehensive solutions to safeguard your forecasting process. While cross-training seems like an intuitive response, the reality is that not all skills can be easily combined. For instance, support and sales require distinct proficiencies rarely found in a single individual. Similarly, planners and forecasters possess different skill sets, making cross-training impractical. We understand these complexities and have explored alternative paths to mitigate the bus factor vulnerability.
Outsourcing: A Limited Solution: Outsourcing WFM specialists on a flexible basis is a commonly considered option. However, relying solely on outsourced individuals presents its own set of challenges. Unlike outsourced call volume, where trained agents are readily available, outsourced WFM specialists often require training from scratch or, at best, guidance from your existing forecaster. This delay and potential knowledge gaps can hinder the seamless transition of responsibilities. CCmath can offer an interesting option here with partner NEXT, reach out if you are interested to learn more about these options.
Unlocking Scale through Shared Service Organizations: Recognizing the need for scalability, we propose a game-changing solution: shared service organizations. By combining the forecasting challenges of multiple call centers, this approach offers several advantages. With highly skilled forecasters who possess a comprehensive understanding of diverse forecasting scenarios, you can achieve both high occupancy rates and cost reductions. This collaborative model provides the resilience and expertise required to overcome the bus factor challenge effectively.
Automation: The Future of WFM: At CCmath, we’re at the forefront of WFM technology, and we believe in leveraging advanced forecasting software to minimize dependence on manual processes. Our fully automated forecasting software empowers your call center to generate accurate forecasts with minimal effort. Imagine a world where most forecasts can be made automatically, eliminating the risk of human error and the need for complex Excel sheets. By investing in our cutting-edge WFM equivalent of ChatGPT, you unlock a new era of service and cost reduction.
Conclusion: As the summer holidays approach, it’s time to ensure the continuity of your call center’s forecasting process. Don’t let the bus factor vulnerability hold you back. At CCmath, we offer a range of solutions tailored to your needs. Whether you opt for our fully automated forecasting software or our WFM & Forecasting as a Service, we have the expertise and technology to support you. Let us help you navigate the complexities of workforce management and build a resilient call center that thrives even in the face of unexpected challenges. Contact us today to discuss your bus factor challenges and unlock the full potential of your forecasting process.
Ger Koole PhD Founder & Chief Scientist of CCmath